54 ' VERDICT OX INDIA
at the end of the third rendering he looked through the wall—at
least, that was how it seemed, as though his piercing eye pene-
trated the brick-wall—and the band lapsed into silence.
And now, anti-climax.
For it transpired that the Wall only ate four times a week, and
this was one of Ms days off. After a few conventional expressions
of hospitality lie took his departures and we went into lunch with
his sons and Ms chief minister.
The rest of the day, for me, was a slow crescendo of pain. We
were driven miles over the country, shown bridges, water-works,
hospitals—they all seemed blurred and indefinite It spoke well
for Swat that in spite of the mist through which I saw it I carried
away a strong feeling of order and sanity and happiness.
So back we are where we began, waiting for the doctor, on the
little fort that crouches among the dark mountains.
My first Indian doctor. ..here he comes! Do you see those-
three swinging lights, coming up the hill ? They are the burning
braziers in which he is going to sterilize his instruments. The
lights come closer and closer, and as their bearers step on to the
terrace I feel that they have walked straight out of an early work
by Leoncavallo—CI Zingari,7 for choice: they are the complete-
brigands of any small Italian operatic company. But there is
nothing in the least brigand-like or operatic about the young
Indian doctor. He is swift, and skilful, with a delicate touch that
would make him a fortune in Harley Street. He does what he'
can, and informs me that if I wish to remain a biped I must
return to hospital early in the morning.
Whither we will now proceed*